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Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage

Tiffany & Co.’s Reed Krakoff Talks Love, Luxury and Making Things That Last

In celebration of the brand's new his and her fragrances.

Reed Krakoff, the peerless fashion designer now at the helm of Tiffany & Co., is a prodigious art collector. When he calls from his Connecticut manse—stately enough to have warranted its own feature in Architectural Digest—he tells me that he is surrounded by his favourite art pieces: his Lalanne sheep sculptures, a Tom Sachs duct tape painting and a Kenneth Noland canvas covered in stripes. Enviable art collection aside, Krakoff’s refined taste is part of what cements his status as one of the most important American designers of the 21st century. This month, Tiffany & Co. launches its first foray into dual fragrance with Tiffany & Love for Him and Her: two woodsy scents that can be worn separately or layered for a gender-neutral effect. We got personal with the designer about his creative process, his career challenges and whether or not he believes in love.

You spent years as a fashion designer at Coach and your namesake label before making the jump to fine jewellery at Tiffany & Co. What is your creative process like?

“For me, design is design. It’s really about a way of thinking; it’s not about a particular style or a specific thing, like ‘I want to create something minimal’ or ‘I want to create something baroque.’ It’s really more about a way of thinking and a way of approaching design that feels new and surprising.”

What is the first thing you think about when it comes to a new design?

“When you think of the style that’s inherent in Tiffany’s…it’s sort of an offhanded, unstudied luxury. We’ve tried to create pieces in the last few Blue Book [high-jewellery] collections that can be worn during the day—everyday luxury as opposed to something you take out once a year.”

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Photograph courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

What was the impetus for the Tiffany & Love fragrances?

“Well, in a way, to capture that moment of excitement and anticipation when a customer receives a piece from Tiffany’s and sees the blue box and [thinks about] all the things it symbolizes.”

What’s your definition of modern love?

“I think it’s much more personal; I think it’s more about intimate moments as opposed to a grand gesture. It’s more about something that, again, is caught in those in-between moments that are unique and personal to each couple.”

What does love mean to you?

“I don’t think about it too much, to be honest. I’ve been very happily married for 20-something years. I mean, to me, love is not having to think too hard about what love is. It’s just a feeling. You know it, and you have it.”

What has been the most challenging part of your career so far?

“That’s a tough one. I love what I do, and I’m lucky to be able to do it. I don’t think about it that way, to be honest. Everything is difficult, but if it’s something you want to do and you enjoy doing, [you] just don’t think about it as challenging. ‘Challenging’ has somewhat of a negative connotation.”

You’ve never had a day where you wake up and think “I can’t do this anymore”?

“Nope. Because I know what it’s like to have a real job. Growing up, I did lots of things—washing dishes, putting in long hours.”

That makes a lot of sense. So, on the other hand, what excites you most about your job?

“Well, [Tiffany’s] is really a unique luxury brand in that it creates the best of everything. We have the best artists, the best craftspeople. The most exciting thing is to work with all of these people and create things that will last for generations.”